MELBOURNE: Eating red meat and unpasteurised dairy products could make people more prone to bacterial attack that can cause severe gastroenteritis
and, in rare cases, fatal kidney failure, according to an Australian research.
A research team of Monash University here led by Travis Beddoe has found that Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli bacteria can cause bloody diarrhoea and the potentially fatal haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), the commonest cause of acute kidney failure in children.
The team studied how a toxin secreted by the E coli strain causes HUS by going from the stomach into cells and the bloodstream, ABC reported.
They found that the toxin is transported inside human cells by binding with a specific sugar N-glycolylneuraminic, acid-containing saccharide present in such foods.
"The toxin sticks to the sugar to get inside cells," Beddoe said, adding, "This uncovered the first example of bacterium causing disease in humans by targeting a molecule which is incorporated into our bodies through what we eat."
The sugar is abundant in red meats, especially beef, lamb and pork, and unpasteurised cow's milk. These are the foods that are also the most commonly contaminated with the E coli strain. When eaten, the sugar is stored in human tissue, stomach or kidney cells, the study said.
"Thus through regular dietary intake of red meats and milk, humans may presensitise their tissues to a key virulence factor of a major pathogen that occurs sporadically in the same foods," the researchers said.
6 months ago